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Nordzucker Post 06/2021 - 21 October 2021

Go Green – CO₂-neutral production

Climate change makes it necessary to massively reduce COemissions in order to ensure a good life for future generations on earth. We have set ourselves the goal of phasing out coal as an energy source by 2030 at the latest and then achieving CO-neutral production in further steps. These are major challenges for Nordzucker that require enormous investment and innovation. To achieve this, we need a reliable political framework.

“In order to be able to manufacture our products without using fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest, we have to think about the day after tomorrow today,” explains Dr. Albrecht Schaper, project manager of the Go Green project. To achieve this, manufacturing processes must be simulated in order to be able to effectively implement the necessary measures. We cannot afford to invest in new technologies without first simulating the effects, neither in terms of time nor financially. Further significant energy savings are expected from technologies not previously used in the sugar industry.

At our Swedish plant in Örtofta, we have started to connect to an external combined heat and power plant nearby to obtain steam from the wood waste used there for partial heat supply for sugar production. For the Uelzen factory, the conversion from coal to gas is planned within the next three years. In Poland we are investing to reduce energy consumption by 15-25% over the next three years and aim to phase out coal by 2025. In our Danish operations, we will stop using coal and oil in the boiler houses in 2024.

A major unknown in all considerations is still the availability of renewable energies to cover the expected demand for heat and electricity. Here, reliable framework conditions are needed from politicians in the long term. Schaper made it clear: “We are talking about the transformation of an entire industry, EU-wide. Each location in the Nordzucker Group has to be considered individually, there is no one-fits-all solution. We will need different solutions for different conditions in the respective regions of our plants.

“We have intensified our efforts to reduce CO emissionsand energy consumption, and not just because of the increasing public debate about environmental protection and climate change – which was politically taken up in the European Green Deal with the goal of a climate-neutral continent. Since 1990, energy consumption in sugar production from beet has fallen by 40 percent and CO emissions have been reduced by 60 percent. Already the reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme in 2017/18 and the foreseeable sharp rise in CO costs have called for new ideas. With the establishment of a Go Green project organization, concrete work on CO reduction potential and investment planning followed at an early stage. In 2021, Go Green finally found its place in the Nordzucker Sustainability Strategy 2030.

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